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November 18, 2007

Transformation: Gen. Petraeus To Head Promotion Board

In what one retired general says is an ‘unprecedented’ move, Petraeus will return from an active combat command to head the board that will select the next class of generals. It seems to be a move to ensure that colonels with an appreciation for the challenges the Army is facing today and have the skills to deal with them are being promoted.

"Dave Petraeus in many ways is viewed as the archetype of what this new generation of senior leader is all about," (Maj. Gen. Robert ) Scales (Ret.) said, "a guy . . . who understands information operations, who can be effective on Capitol Hill, who can communicate with Iraqis, who understands the value of original thought, who has the ability through the power of his intellect to lead people to change."

…In a speech at a large Army conference last month, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates raised the need for holding onto young combat veterans and "reexamining assignments and promotion policies that in many cases are unchanged since the Cold War." Gates also stressed that the Army must retain lessons on irregular warfare from Iraq and Afghanistan -- lessons he said were learned but lost after the Vietnam War.

"All these so-called 'nontraditional' capabilities have moved into the mainstream of military thinking, planning and strategy -- where they must stay," he said. Gates later met with Army leaders and discussed promotion policies, according to Army officials.

One initiative would transform the way officers are selected for nontraditional but vital jobs such as leading the military training teams that are in growing demand in Iraq and Afghanistan. Key officers for those teams, which total roughly 7,100 personnel, would be chosen from the same lists as commanders of combat units -- placing the Army's new leaders in those jobs.

It takes awhile to change the course of an organization as large and complex as the Army but it seems big changes are clearly underway and beginning to reach the highest levels. Somewhere Donald Rumsfeld is smiling.

Small Wars Journal
has more thoughts and a round up of what this may mean for the future of the Army.


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posted by DrewM. at 02:41 PM

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